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Greg Franta's Cooling the Warming Book Goes to Press

By Molly Miller

“Attitude is the biggest driver to successful high-performance projects; set higher goals and believe in the possibility of creating a high-performing building without enduring heavy costs.”

—Greg Franta, FAIA

“If I have seen far it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

This often-repeated quote from Sir Isaac Newton captures the spirit of RMI Principal Victor Olgyay’s introduction to Greg Franta’s book "Cooling the Warming," which is being released by RMI this summer.

At the time of the car crash that took Franta’s life in February 2009, Franta had been working on a comprehensive book about climate change and the built environment. Not content to examine only buildings, Franta sought to connect buildings, homes, land use, utilities, transportation, and consumer choices to energy use and carbon emissions. This comprehensive look at energy is now the major focus of Reinventing Fire, RMI’s initiative and book of the same name that aims to get the nation off fossil fuels by 2050.

Franta was passionate about writing about and teaching integrated design, and at long last RMI has published Franta’s book, albeit a much more modest version than he had imagined. The 68-page book, the full title of which is "Cooling the Warming: the Connection Between Climate Change and the Built Environment," is composed of Franta’s introductory chapter of his original work, Olgyay’s introduction, a preface by

President William J. Clinton, and an appreciation of Franta written by RMI Chief Scientist Amory Lovins. Franta’s essay describes how we arrived at our current state of climate crisis and lays out a vision for how decisions we make about our built environment can help solve the climate crisis.

President Clinton’s preface describes his experience with Franta and RMI on greening the White House in the mid-1990s and on greening his home. It is an appreciation for Franta and an endorsement of Reinventing Fire and RMI’s vision for the future.

“Greg did a lot of good in his all-too-short life, and he left us inspiration for the challenges that remain,” Clinton wrote.

Franta was indeed a giant, and his ideas have never been more important. The book is available on Amazon for the cost of shipping.

Molly Miller is a communications specialist at RMI.

--Published August 2010